Episode 6: Nneka Ngene

My name is April Basi and today I will be interviewing Nneka Jennifer Ngene. The last day of 2014 is fast approaching, and I couldn’t end this year without dishing out my last interview of the year. I couldn’t think of a more perfect person to do it other than Ms Nneka, not only because I’ve know her for such a long time, but she is literally one in a million. P.s. check out her photography skills, her pictures are flawless. Ok! let me stop rambling, you know the drill. Sit tight grab a cup of juice/tea/coffee and enjoy. See you in 2015!
What is your name? I am Nneka
How old are you? *Gasp* Ha, no biggie. I am 22 years old.
Where do you live?  I’m currently living in Nigeria.
What do you do for a living? I recently just graduated so I’m currently waiting to start the mandatory NYSC in Nigeria.
Favourite childhood memory? Summers spent at Laugh n Learn, which was like a summer camp organised by the company my Dad worked with. I met so many great people that I am still friends with till this day.
Favourite food?  This is quite hard...because I love a lot of things, but I love my proteins so chicken any day, salmon and beef occasionally.


So, usually people ask what you like about being grown up, but lets be honest nobody likes being grown up, so I decided to change it up and say…
What do you hate about being grown up? I hate that we tend to lose the bright-eyed wonder we had so much of as a child and even our curiosity. It’s almost like you have to keep fighting to sustain it and understandably so. We don’t explore as much; we do the safe thing; we are constantly swamped with things we need to do and responsibilities then reality sets in. So, dreaming and being awed by everyday things seems unserious, but I don’t want to live in a world without wonder.
When did you move to Canada? In 2009 for school and now I’m done with that, I have moved back home.
Do you miss Naija? And what do you think of our country right now? Getting better? or nah? Nigeria is a very interesting country. I like to think we are definitely not where we used to be more like slow, but steady. There’s something about belonging to a place that makes you want to fight for/with it. In a lot of ways, life is harder here and the systems are a mess, but I think it’s worth fighting for.
Where did/do you go to school? For high school I went to Jephthah in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and for university I went to Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada.
What is/was you major in school? In high school I was an arts student and wanted to be an accountant but ended up studying Business Administration in Uni.
What is your dream career/job? It has changed so much over the years, but definitely working in the creative industry and right now specifically regarding the front-end design (interactive design) of websites; basically a front-end web developer.
Why did you choose it? I’ve always been curious about the design of everyday things and because I spend so much perusing through different blogs/websites, I thought well, why the heck not.

What advice do you have for young people looking to get into the same field?  Constantly keep your eyes open to learn. I’m pretty much just starting out but I know these things take time so being patient with yourself is important.

How do you plan to impact the world especially Naija with your Career of choice in the future? I believe that in any field you find yourself in, you owe it to yourself and your clients to provide excellent work/products. If we have more people doing things well and in the right way, the world will definitely be better.
Are you in support of African parents that pretty much dictate that their children do nursing or medicine in the United States, so they can have a stable job?
I understand the place it comes from but at the end of the day, it’s their life to live. Jobs are anything but stable these days because job-hopping is a normal thing for millennials. Whatever job you have, you’re going to have to work your ass off to stay relevant and keep adding value so it might as well be something you love and are passionate about. Go to school; learn your craft from scratch (referring to the arts) and then go do great things.

What would you say growing up in Naija was like for you would you bring up your kids the same way?
I have to say, I absolutely loved my childhood so I hope to.
What is it like moving back to Naija? It’s nothing I’m not familiar with, as I’ve lived pretty much my whole life here. I’ll be honest; I’ve been ready to move back for a while, even before I graduated because I just never felt fully at home.
What challenges are you facing so far? The system not working, as it should is almost expected but still frustrating.
Do you like it or love it?
I’ve always loved Nigeria and that hasn’t changed despite the odds.
Why did you decide to move back and advice to anyone looking to move back?
I’ve lived in a number of places, but feel most at home here even with all the mess. This is home. This is different from coming home for 2-3 weeks and going back to “sanity” if you would have it. Nigeria in a lot of ways is chaotic so you have to be mentally prepared for all that. Once your mind is set, your body will follow.

So, lets get a little personal, do worry don’t get nervous...lol, we will start of slow then it will get hotter….oya ready! Go!!
Any gf/iyawo (wife) or bf/hubby in your life? (no lies…. no denials ): Hahaha, gurrrl. Very much single ;)
If not tell us your dream woman/man ? Wuz all diz jackie? Haha but really, I think it’s very important that he is kind to others, to himself, to me . Every other thing we can work out (I hope). Say no to NFAs as well. Nobadi gat time fo’ that.

The other day me and my friends were talking about how men these days don’t do the chasing, (even naija men o). Females these days will do anything to find hubby.
What do you think? Do you think its okay for us women to chase men because society is changing or that’s not acceptable and chivalry should still prevail?
Chasing almost sounds like throwing yourself at someone, which is obviously unnecessary. I do not have a problem with a woman asking a guy out (hey if that’s your thing, go on ahead girl). It’s not a big deal in a lot of places, but I’m curious to see how that works in Naija. I do have a problem with people who constantly need to be in a relationship to feel validated. It almost always ends in a mess because then they use people as an escape; hence, the “chasing” of throwing yourself at him/her.

 I’m sure the readers will want to know about your style so please…
Describe your personal style.
My style really depends on my mood but I’m a minimalist so on a typical day: a plain tee, jeans and Birkenstocks work perfectly. It’s almost like my uniform and sounds a bit lazy, but I guess it’s the season. These things evolve, you know. But, I like to look modern and effortless.

Who is your favourite designer and why?
I honestly don’t pay much attention to these things but since I’ve been let me show love to Nigerian designers. I’ve been loving Jewel by Lisa lately. I love that she leaves her fingerprints on all her pieces. I can almost instantly tell if someone is wearing her piece without having seen it before. Tzar has some great street style tees; and Orange Culture is doing the damn thing.
If you could be a celebrity, who would it be and why? Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, because she is one heck of an intelligent woman, who is incredibly self aware, opinionated, and I love that about her.
Any real life crushes in real life? if not celebs: Jessie Williams it my ultimate bae. I’ll marry him in my next life.
What can you not live without? Water and laughter.
Finally,
One thing you would change about yourself if you could? I wish I didn’t spend so much time in my head.

Nne you seem like a very interesting character. I’m sure the readers would like to know more about what goes on in your head…haha.
Thank you so much for giving me your time today, I had a lot of fun doing this interview, and I hope you guys had fun reading it as well. You are indeed one of a kind. I tried to keep this interview as short as possible so it wouldn’t take too much of your time. Please keep us updated in the near future incase of any changes, especially on the hubby part
Definitely baby girl.